Emerging from the park, we encountered the Press building, a 1956 Stalinist structure that looms over that corner of Bucharest.
From the park we went to the market at Obor. While the fresh fruits and vegetables were bright and plentiful, we were also interested in the fish market.
The building has, indeed some fine workmanship and there are many details that are visually beautiful. I am intrigued by the facts that most of the materials are native to Romania, that it is second only to the Pentagon in area, and that when one finishes the tour one has covered 2 or 3 km of walking, but has seen less than 10% of the whole. All this is true and yet, knowing as I do that people in Romania were literally starving during the time of its building, that Ceaucescu ordered many fine historic buildings and homes razed in order to have the area for his vision, and that craftsmen and women were ordered into creating what they did, I cannot enjoy the building.
Thursday evening we attended the Blue Ball (see blog post on Autism Awareness month).
On Friday, Natalia, a friend of Martha's from Moldovia, arrived to visit. After a welcome breakfast of American French toast, the two of them went off for the day while I took care of a few others things (and in the afternoon attended Amanda's panel discussion - again, see blog on autism). We caught up later that evening at a concert at the Athenaeum, one of Bucharest's most beautiful buildings in my humble opinion. In the main concert hall, there is a marvelous fresco depicting the history of Romania (described here).
Saturday, Natalia, Martha, and I roamed around downtown Bucharest a bit more. I have passed the urban art depicted in the next two pictures numerous times, but it wasn't until Natalia stopped to talk about it that I really took notice. It is clearly protesting the lack of natural surroundings and the destruction of the environment in building the city (with additional graffiti at the bottom). Natalia has visited Bucharest numerous times and says she especially enjoys seeking out unusual aspects of the city.
One of the sights we happened upon - unusual for tourists, but common for the populace - was a baby's baptism. We had gone into the church simply to see its artwork and were invited to observe and even photograph the baptism ceremony. The baby was happy enough playing with the crucifix the priest was waving about, but squalled loudly when undressed for full immersion. I felt lucky to be a part of this family's joy that day.
with a lovely painting of the archangel Gabriel...
We parted from Natalia in the early afternoon as she had other places to go and people to see. Martha and I wandered the city, slowly making our way back to the peasant museum and the book studio. I introduced her to Razvan and shared a little of the progress we are making on the edition of "Romanian Doors". I am very pleased with the progress and expect we will have all 30 books completed by mid-May.
And then we walked home...